A scheme to provide redress to owners of defective Celtic Tiger-era apartments will become available for applications next year, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said.
He confirmed Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien is working on the legislation as a matter of “priority”, but added “sufficient time” is needed to ensure the scheme is “robust”, of “value” to taxpayers, and contains the necessary oversight.
Between 62,500 and 100,000 apartments and duplexes built between 1991 and 2013 are thought to be defective, with fire safety being the most prevalent issue.
The Government announced in January that it would set up a State-funded redress scheme.
The scheme is estimated to be worth between €1.5 billion and €2.5 billion, depending on how many defective structures there are, with an estimated cost of €25,000 per unit.
Mr Varadkar told the Dáil on Wednesday: “There will be retrospection because we don’t want to discourage people from getting the work done and getting payments where they can.”
The Fine Gael leader said he and other ministers are among those personally affected by the issue.
He said the scale of the problem is “significant” and a wider issue than pyrite defects.
He added: “It was always anticipated that the scheme would take time to develop, and we’ve always sought to convey that message.
“It is expected the draft legislation will be published in early 2024. Subject to the legislative process, the scheme will be in place shortly thereafter.”
Raising the issue in the Dáil, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said Mr O’Brien “would want to get the finger out now”.
She said families are living in homes that are not safe due to inadequate fire safety measures, and “there can be no excuse for delays”.
She said hundreds of apartments in the Ivy Exchange on Parnell Street face bills up to €80,000 due to defects “for which they bear no responsibility”, and another couple who bought an apartment in Citywest face having to spend €40,000 to “fix defects that they did not cause”.
She said people do not have the money to cover repairs, and asked the Taoiseach to give a specific date for when the legislation and funding will be available.
In relation to fire safety defects, Mr Varadkar said Mr O’Brien will publish in the coming weeks details of advice for owner management companies, which will include funding mechanisms for interim works.